Smith, Street to battle it out again

Last updated 13:00 07/02/2014

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Maryan Street and Nick Smith will face off again in the Nelson electorate this year with Ms Street being confirmed as Labour's candidate today.

Dr Smith, who will be going for his seventh straight term as Nelson MP, was the sole National Party nomination last year, confirmed in December.

Ms Street's candidacy was being confirmed at a Labour Party lunch at Cafe Affair in the city. No-one else contested the nomination.

In a statement this morning she said she was delighted to stand for Labour in Nelson again, and grateful to local party members for their support.

"I have been a list MP in Nelson since 2007 and I am pleased to be able to represent in Parliament the issues the people of Nelson bring to me. People know me well now and have seen me around for a long time, so they know I am serious about Nelson and the things which matter here, such as jobs, housing and low wages.

"My goal is to bring the party vote back to Labour and win government, through a combination of clear representation of the people here, good policies which benefit all New Zealanders, and hard work.

"Nelson and the country need a David Cunliffe-led government which cares about all New Zealanders, not just the wealthy."

Dr Smith had a 7884-vote majority over Ms Street in 2008, the year in which National also took the party vote from Labour.

In 2011, Dr Smith's majority was 7088 and National's share of the party vote improved further.

It has been an up-and-down year for Ms Street, a former Labour Party president in her third term as a list MP. She was dropped from ninth to 12th when Mr Cunliffe announced his shadow Cabinet in September, and was described in the annual independent Trans Tasman Roll Call in December as making little impact.

At that time she said that if selected this might be her last tilt at the Nelson seat. She turns 59 in April and said that 2017 might be "time for me to move on . . . and let others come through".

Dr Smith, 49, said today Ms Street was a challenging opponent.

"She is well informed of the issues as a parliamentarian. We've been round the paddock a couple of times before and the campaigns have been very professional and very Nelson."

He said election years were stressful and challenging, with issues becoming edgy and exaggerated. "But I am a great believer in Winston Churchill's view of the world, that parliamentary democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the rest."

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- Nelson

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